Russia rejects Idlib ceasefire | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 26, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:24 AM, February 26, 2020

Russia rejects Idlib ceasefire

Says move will encourage ‘terrorists’; talks uncertain

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday rejected calls for a halt to a Russia-backed Syrian offensive in Idlib in northwest Syria.

"This is capitulating before terrorists and even a reward for their activities in violation of international treaties and numerous UN Security Council resolutions," Lavrov told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Lavrov accused some governments of "a desire to justify outrageous acts committed by radical and terrorist groupings.

"Otherwise, it would be difficult to explain admonishments about the possibility of concluding peace agreements with bandits," he said, referring to the situation in Idlib.

A months-long offensive by Russia-backed Syrian troops against rebels backed by Turkey in Idlib has seen hundreds of thousands of people flee the violence.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is planning to hold a summit on March 5 with the leaders of Russia, France and Germany over the escalating conflict. But yesterday he said he might instead hold face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on that date, either in Istanbul or in Ankara.

The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross also yesterday said in a statement it was "deeply alarmed" by the situation for civilians fleeing the fighting.

The United Nations also warned on Monday against an imminent "bloodbath".

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